Jack the Giant Slayer, an updated telling of the Jack and the Beanstalk story starring Nicholas Hoult and Ewan McGregor (Attack of the Clones), is this weekend's big new release. As a service, we answered every question you could possibly have about Jack the Giant Slayer.
Q: I haven't been impressed by the television spots for Jack the Giant Slayer. There's no chance this movie is good, right?
A: Jack the Giant Slayer is much better then the promotional effort would you lead you to believe. At least, most of the movie is, I should say.
Q: What's the worst part of Jack the Giant Slayer?
A: The first 25 minutes.
Q: What's wrong with the first 25 minutes?
A: Jack the Giant Slayer attempts to tell a more mature version of the Jack and the Beanstalk story. To achieve this, it front-loads the film with a lot of exposition to explain a giant stem will eventually sprout from a bean plant and extend all the way into Earth's stratosphere.
Q: Is at least part of this exposition done using animation that would look suspect on a Sega Genesis?
Q: Do we meet some interesting characters during the first 25 minutes?
A: Boy, is the beginning of this movie muddled with characters; it's kind of hard to tell who is interesting and who isn't -- at least at first.
Q: At what point will I know that I've made it past the muddle?
A: Once the beanstalk goes up, the story tightens and becomes something that could be described as enjoyable.
Q: What five words can you still not believe that you just wrote as a defense for a movie?
A: "Once the beanstalk goes up."
Q: How do things become less muddled after the beanstalk goes up?
A: Let's just say that once the beanstalk goes up (there it is again), the large group of characters is whittled down to just a few, which makes the proceedings much more enjoyable to watch.
Q: Why does a beanstalk "go up" in the first place?
A: Honestly, it doesn't matter. If it were possible, I'd recommend that a viewer start the movie right when the beanstalk emerges, armed with the knowledge that (A) there's a coveted magic bean that people seem to want very much that produces giant stalks, (B) giants live at the top of the stalk and they are dumb and mean, and (C) a princess (Eleanor Tomlinson) is trapped up there and needs to be rescued from the aforementioned dumb and mean giants.
Q: Who are the people trying to rescue the princess?
A: The only three you really need to worry about are a farm boy named Jack (Nicholas Hoult), because his name is in the title; Elmont (Ewan McGregor), an earnest warrior; and Lord Roderick (Stanly Tucci), who is the dick of the group.
Q: Does Ewan McGregor make a Star Wars reference in Jack the Giant Slayer?
Q: What's the best part of Jack the Giant Slayer?
A: Stanley Tucci's Roderick.
Q: Is Stanley Tucci channeling Alan Rickman's Sheriff of Nottingham from Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves in Jack the Giant Slayer?
A: Yes, but a more cartoonish version.
Q: Does Roderick betray the group at some point?
A: Yes. But, to be fair to him, he all but announces to the group that he is evil from the beginning.
Q: Why is Roderick evil?
A: Roderick wants to marry the princess, but she rejects him. Later, it becomes obvious that the princess is falling for Jack (because his name is in the title of the movie), and Roderick doesn't particularly like that.
Q: Does Roderick happen to own a crown that enables the wearer to control the giants?
A: Yes. And, yes, you probably see where all of this is going.
Q: Do the giants have individual personalities?
A: Kind of. And at least five of them have names: Fallon, Fee, Fi, Fo and Fum. But, again, all of the giants are mean and stupid, so each giant's personality is just a variation of mean and stupid.
Q: Does Fallon have two heads for some unknown reason?
Q: Is Fee a tribute to the actor Fra Fee who played Courfeyrac in Les Misérables?
Q: With each word that you are writing about this movie, are you liking it less and less?
A: Well, when I see it written out like this ... but, I swear, while I was watching the movie (sans the first 25 minutes), I enjoyed it.
Q: How is this possible?
A: The cast is charming -- especially McGregor, whom I haven't seen smile this much since shooting wrapped on Revenge of the Sith.
Q: Is Jack the Giant Slayer surprisingly violent?
A: It's certainly not gory, but giants routinely pick up human beings and eat them like Twix bars.
Q: How are the visual effects in Jack the Giant Slayer?
A: Not counting the opening animated exposition segment, pretty great. The beanstalk, in particular, looks fantastic.
Q: Given your fascination with this beanstalk, if it called you right now and the phone and asked you on a date, would you go?
A: Yes. I mean, a fictional beanstalk just made a phone call -- who wouldn't go?
Q: How many times during this piece did you write the former title of this movie, Jack the Giant Killer, by accident?
A: Three times.
Mike Ryan is senior writer for Huffington Post Entertainment. You can contact him directly on Twitter.
This story appears in Issue 39 of our weekly iPad magazine, Huffington, in the iTunes App store, available Friday, March 8.
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